News

(27-July-2015 / NewYorkTime)

SONGKHLA, Thailand — Lang Long’s ordeal began in the back of a truck. After watching his younger siblings go hungry because their family’s rice patch in Cambodia could not provide for everyone, he accepted a trafficker’s offer to travel across the Thai border for a construction job.

It was his chance to start over. But when he arrived, Mr. Long was kept for days by armed men in a room near the port at Samut Prakan, more than a dozen miles southeast of Bangkok. He was then herded with six other migrants up a gangway onto a shoddy wooden ship. It was the start of three brutal years in captivity at sea.

“I cried,” said Mr. Long, 30, recounting how he was resold twice between fishing boats. After repeated escape attempts, one captain shackled him by the neck whenever other boats neared.

(27-July-2015 / KhmerTime)

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Opponents of the controversial draft law on associations and NGOs (LANGO) hope that the Constitutional Council can succeed where protests and vote boycotts have failed.

The LANGO passed the Senate 44-0 on Friday despite widespread protests and a vote boycott by opposition lawmakers. Now it requires only the formality of a Royal signature.

As a last-ditch effort to stop the law, Transparency International, watchdog Licadho, and other organizations have petitioned the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to ask the Constitutional Council to review the legislation. They argue that the restrictions it places on associations violate the freedom of association and expression protected by Article 41 of the Constitution.

It would be unprecedented for the Council to amend such a major piece of legislation. Though technically an independent body of the judiciary, the Constitutional Council has only rarely gone against the National Assembly and demanded changes to laws. Even the architects of the plan to petition the Council are not optimistic.

(27-July-2015 / Phnom Penh Post)

Authorities rounded up around 30 homeless people in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district late last week and sent most of them for detention in the notorious Prey Speu detention centre, despite mounting criticism regarding the human rights violations in the government facility.

According to a report from Daun Penh authorities issued yesterday, police imprisoned a total of 31 people in Prey Speu – or Por Sen Chey Vocational Training Centre – between Thursday and Saturday for living on the streets.

(27-July-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

An NGO director claimed Sunday that authorities in Svay Rieng province blocked a group he was leading from visiting homes they had rebuilt near the Vietnamese border in Romeas Hek district.

(27-July-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Responding to an apology from opposition lawmaker Um Sam An, who was punished last week for a critical Facebook post, National Assembly President Heng Samrin wrote on Saturday that the dispute would end with the decision to sanction the outspoken parliamentarian.

(27-July-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Authorities in Phnom Penh on Sunday arrested and released six people dressed in prison uniforms and chained together by their legs for protesting outside the National Assembly against a recently approved law that threatens to muzzle NGOs critical of the government.

(25-July-2015 / khmertimeskh)

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – After being suspended from his seat in the National Assembly, for criticizing its president on Facebook on July 14, Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Um Sam An has apologized for the comments and asked for forgiveness.

“I have used impolite language about Samdech president on social media affecting the reputation of Samdech president,” Mr. Sam An wrote in his letter to National Assembly President Heng Samrin. “My impolite behavior and words have affected the prestige of the National Assembly as well as the reputation of Samdech president,” he continued.

“Please Samdech president forgive me accordingly,” he requested in the July 24 letter.

(25-July-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

As hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Senate Friday morning, 44 ruling party senators voiced their support for the controversial NGO law before approving it unanimously and sending it on to the Constitutional Council.

Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang said that eight senators offered their opinions in support of the law—roundly derided by NGOs and international donors—before approving it at the end of a 3-hour meeting. Eleven Sam Rainsy Party senators boycotted the session.

(25-July-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Opposition lawmaker Um Sam An has been suspended from the next 15 sessions of parliament and will have his salary cut as punishment for critical comments he posted to Facebook earlier this month, according to a statement issued Friday by the National Assembly’s Sec­retariat General.

Mr. Sam An, whose post on July 14 claimed that CPP Assembly President Heng Samrin had unconstitutionally blocked a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, will also be publicly shamed through notifications posted at commune offices in his constituency of Siem Reap province, the statement said.

(24-July-2015 / bigstory.ap.org)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's Senate on Friday approved tight restrictions on non-governmental organizations, rejecting appeals from rights groups that say the law could be used for political repression.

About 400 protesters gathered peacefully outside Parliament during the vote on the bill, which states that local and foreign non-governmental organizations must register with the government, and that all NGOs must be politically neutral. It also gives the government unchecked power to block registrations and dissolve groups in the name of national security.

Senators from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party boycotted the session in protest against the bill, as the party's lawmakers in the lower house did last week when the bill passed there.